Last update: July 29, 2021
Sports betting in Ontario is legal.
Bettors can already place parlay bets, with an expansion likely this year. Canadian lawmakers passed C-218 June 22, a bill to remove the federal prohibition on single-game betting throughout Canada and allow individual provinces like Ontario to regulate single-game sports betting. Regulators in Ontario suggest it will be an open and competitive market and ready for launch by the end of 2021.
A draft of regulations was released July 28.
According to the Canadian Gaming Association, an estimated C$10 billion is bet annually through illegal operations with ties to organized crime. Another estimated C$4 billion is bet with offshore unlicensed operators. Just an estimated C$500 million is bet through legal lottery-run sportsbooks.
Is sports betting legal in Ontario?
Yes, there is legal sports betting right now in Ontario but not like it exists in the United States. Anyone looking to place a parlay bet in Ontario has a few options through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. This includes products that offer betting on pools, money lines, props, and more. Those parlays can be bet at any lottery retailer in Ontario or on the ProLine app.
With the passage of C-218, single-game sports betting in Ontario should be available by the end of 2021.
The future of Ontario sports betting online
C-218 could bring single-game sports betting to Ontario before the end of 2021. This likely would include the ability to make all traditional bets including spreads, totals, and moneyline wagers on individual games in major professional and college sports.
Ontario sports betting could launch by the end of 2021, according to David Phillips, of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The AGCO wants an open market that will allow operators like Toronto-based theScore and DraftKings.
The bill, sponsored by private member Kevin Waugh, finished its successful journey through Parliament on June 22, when the Senate approved the bill.
What’s next for Ontario sports betting
Bettors in Ontario should prepare for a flood of legal choices. There will be plenty of interest in landing an Ontario sports betting license from domestic companies as well as the big US operators. BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and more will likely be interested in the Ontario online sports betting market.
Domestic companies like sports media giant Score Media and Gaming, which launched theScore Bet in multiple US states, hope to use its Canadian influence to secure market share.
Woodbine Entertainment, which handles about 80% of the pari-mutuel wagering in Ontario through its distribution network, is also excited about the potential. The company hired former sports executive Michael Copeland as its chief commercial officer to help direct the company’s sports betting efforts.
Local media giants Rogers and Bell are also looking for sports betting opportunities throughout Canada.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the province’s gaming regulator, released a draft of regulations in July, with comments due August 18. An Auditor General’s report from December suggested it might be better to separate those roles.
Ontario vs. Pennsylvania sports betting
Ontario is clearly the crown jewel for sports betting operators seeking to enter the market in Canada.
The province is the largest by population with an estimated 14.8 million residents as of the first quarter of this year. That would make it the fifth-biggest US state, ranking above Pennsylvania’s 13 million residents. Only California, Texas, Florida, and New York have more residents.
Pennsylvania sports betting is one of the breakout stars in terms of US sports betting success. It ranks third in terms of handle ($7.3 billion) and revenue ($543.7 million) behind New Jersey and Nevada since the fall of PASPA in May 2018.
Ontario also shares a border with Michigan, one of the most recent entrants into the legal US sports betting market. Michigan sportsbook apps launched in January 2021, and with Detroit only a stone’s throw away from Toronto, the new market likely did not go unnoticed.
Latest Ontario sports betting news
Legal betting options in Ontario
The only legal betting options in Ontario are run by the OLG ProLine, which requires parlays of two or more wagers per bet. Once single-game betting is allowed, though, expect a deluge of sportsbooks around the province. There are 28 casinos throughout Ontario, according to the OLG. Here are some of the casinos that might offer full-fledged sportsbooks. These also happen to be some of the largest in the province:
- Operated by: Caesars Entertainment
- Address: 377 Riverside Drive East
- Location: Windsor, ON, N9A 7H7
- Operated by: Mohegan Gaming
- Address: 5705 Falls Ave
- Location: Niagara Falls, ON, L2E 6T3
- Operated by: One Toronto Gaming
- Address: 555 Rexdale Blvd
- Location: Etobicoke, ON, M9W 5L1
Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie
- Operated by: Gateway
- Address: 30 Bay St.
- Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 7A6
Pickering Casino Resort
- Operated by: One Toronto Gaming
- Address: 888 Durham Live Avenue
- Location: Pickering, ON, L1W 0C1
Sports betting partnerships
Sports betting operators are already getting ready for the launch of single-game betting in Canada. DraftKings made the first splash, though it was not specifically betting-related. The company expanded its daily fantasy sports deal with the NFL to include Canada, making it the league’s exclusive DFS partner in both the US and Canada.
The first deal to mention Canadian sports betting specifically came between the PGA Tour and theScore Bet. The deal made theScore Bet an official betting operator of the PGA Tour in both the US and Canada, making it the first official betting partner for the PGA in Canada.
More announcements started coming in June 2021. BetMGM announced two hockey deals that should help its reach in the Great White North. The first was a partnership with NHL great Wayne Gretzky to become a brand ambassador. The next deal came a day later as BetMGM became the exclusive sports betting partner of The Hockey News.
Most popular sports to bet on in Ontario
There are five professional sports teams in Ontario that should draw plenty of betting attention from residents.
It should not surprise anyone that Ontario has two NHL franchises. Canada’s obsession with hockey runs deep, as does Ontario’s ties with its two teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators should see plenty of single-game betting action should C-218 pass.
Also plenty popular are the Toronto Raptors, who took home the NBA Championship in 2019. MLB‘s Toronto Blue Jays and MLS‘ Toronto FC also have loyal fan bases which could turn into loyal bettors.
NFL and CFL betting
There’s also no denying the popularity of football throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada. The Canadian Football League canceled its 2020 season but plans to return in 2021, meaning a return to the field for the three Ontario-based teams: the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Ottawa Redblacks, and the Toronto Argonauts.
But there’s also plenty of enthusiasm for the NFL and the Super Bowl, especially the Buffalo Bills. Given the Bills’ recent turnaround, the team could become the most-heavily bet in Ontario if single-game betting is legalized.
Ontario and daily fantasy sports
It is legal to enter daily fantasy sports contests in Ontario.
Is horse betting legal in Ontario?
Yes, both horse racing and betting on horse racing are legal in Ontario. The industry is overseen by Ontario Racing with 15 tracks located throughout the province.
There are multiple websites and apps approved for horse racing betting in Ontario, or bets can be placed at the tracks.
Ontario sports betting timeline
2021: Single-game sports betting is closer with C-218 all the way through the parliament. The bill received full House approval in April and the Senate in June 2021. Individual provinces will handle the regulations.
2020: Private member Kevin Waugh introduced C-218 in February, but there was very little action that year. The bill didn’t get its second reading until nearly a year later in February 2021.
One notable development in 2020 came in June when multiple professional leagues jointly issued their support of single-game betting in Canada.
2016: The second attempt to legalize single-game sports betting last decade in Canada fails.
2012: The first attempt to legalize Canadian single-game sports betting last decade passed the House, but it would go no further. The Senate failed to act on the legislation for years.
2011: C-290 is introduced by Joe Comartin. It’s the first attempt of the decade to end the federal ban on single-game sports betting in Canada.
1992: ProLine officially launches in Ontario in October.
Will online casinos launch with online sports betting in Ontario?
Ontario already has an online casino option through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission. More options could be coming, though. Ontario’s 2020 budget suggested legislation could be on its way to end the lottery’s monopoly on online casinos.
Where can I place a bet in Ontario?
Sports bettors can place bets online or through lottery retailers, though those bets have to be parlay bets. There are no legal options for single-game sports betting in Ontario as of June 2021, but that will likely change by the end of the year.
Will there be mobile sports betting in Ontario?
There is already legal mobile sports betting in Ontario through the OLG’s parlay product, ProLine. Mobile betting should expand to include single-game sports betting operators now that parliament passed C-218.
Who oversees sports betting in Ontario?
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulates all gaming in Ontario.
When will single-game sports wagering launch in Ontario?
Single-game sports betting could launch as early as September 2021 should C-218 pass, according to comments from Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns.